Sunday, May 25, 2008


So in between bouts of brilliance in the lab, I spend a good amount of time outdoors running. I have this irresistible urge to run a marathon before I turn thirty. As some people do, I have goals that I wanted to reach by a certain time. And I've reached a few. Living overseas, seeing a puffin, you know, really important things.

I've been really training now since the beginning of March. Since I was so out of shape before that, it's been a little tough getting back into the swing. But now I'm at thirty miles a week, five six mile runs a week. Whoo-hoo!

I have to admit, however, that although I can run a lot, I don't always do it well.

Take Friday for instance.

I was on around mile four. The sun was shining, the sea breeze was whisking past my head, the birds were singing. In full throttle, I was enjoying the evening and the scenery as I passed by.

It was about then that I saw a plane coming into land. We have a small airport here, and my run takes me right past the runway. I find it entertaining to watch the small propeller plane settle onto the tarmac. I find it thoroughly frightening to actually be in the plane at that particular moment, but that's another story.

So it was that I looked up into the bright blue sky, smiling at the cute plane as my right foot decided to betray me and leave the concrete running path. My ankle happily joined in this game and I launched forward. Fabric tore as my knee met most intimately with the concrete. My hands were spared much of this disaster as I rolled off onto the grass clutching my ankle and moaning.

I'm sure the passing motorists had a nice laugh.

I just lay there for about five minutes, knee bleeding, ankle throbbing, and muttering ow, ow ow.

Fortunately, nothing was too badly injured and I was able to complete the run.

And yet another reason why I hate flying.


Friday, May 23, 2008


My best friend in the world has graduated. She is a doctor, a real live doctor. I couldn't be more proud.

This woman is the closest I have to a sister, damn well, she might as well be. Aw hon, I am sooooooo happy for you and am sorry that I am not there for the day.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Fly a kite

So, I've found that a popular past time here in Scotland is flying kites. Most likely because the wind is always blowing. I find this particularly annoying on my daily run, but I guess I should think positively. Along with a fresh, slightly windburn look, which makes me look "outdoorsy" I think my legs get a hell of a workout running against the constant gust.

Anyway, back to the story. So, kite flying. Now, it's not like the little wimpy paper/plastic kites that kids fly. No, they take the brisk breeze seriously up here. I'm talking about kites that can, and do pull people. Sometimes as in my case, drag them along the beach, but whatever.

My boss has a "buggy" which I think I'd call something else. Maybe, three-wheeled-beach-riding-thing-pulled-by-kite. Yeah, that's a little long. I guess I just have an issue with the British word "buggy."

This fascinated all of us who attended the lab beach expedition the other week. So, one of the students went out and bought a small version of the kite to learn how to control it.

On Saturday, her, her brother, and I headed out to the Isle of May. Very cool, has puffins and a small boat that made a lot of people sea sick. We loved it of course. I'll be sure to post on that later.

After a day spent among the birds, we headed back and stopped at the beach in St. Andrews to give her kite a try. Man was that tough! It's all fine once you get the kite up in the air above you, but then a shift in the wind and your tugging with all your strength as it plummets to the wet sand with a very satisfying thump.

My arms are still sore.

However, I am proud to announce that I was not taken off my feet that much, really.

I'm going to have to get the hang of this kite thing because the next step is not the buggy for me, nope, I want to take it into the sea with one of the kite-board-thingys. That too probably has a different name. I will update on that later. If I don't end up out at sea or something.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


To celebrate a paper submission of some of the people in the lab, our boss suggested a day at the beach by St. Andrew's.

For the first time, in a long time, the sun has been out consistantly and the spring feel is truely getting to everyone. I mean, who wants to sit at your bench when you could be chilling in the sun with a beer?

Of course, the students I hang out with the most jumped at the chance to go to the beach on a workday. Also the postdoc in our office planned the day and to bring the family along.

We're a pretty big lab, so I was surprised on the day that only four of us, not including the boss headed out to the beach. Two other post docs came out for a little bit, but only for an extended lunch break.

I was baffled. When the boss says lets go play at the beeach, who really says no?

I mean, it's not like it was a tropical beach, and the wind was up a bit, but hell. It's Scotland. What do you expect?

The fog was gone, the sand was soft.

The boss amused us by riding his kite buggy up and down the beach during low tide. We had a frisbe.

The freaking sun was out. Really, you can't ask for more. Well, a beer maybe.

The postdoc with the family has two young kids, so that was fun to watch the younger of the two eat sand.

And it was pretty interesting to watch the older one fill up her skirt with sand and take it over to dump on a student who had decided it was a good idea to dig a hole.

I had a great time. Woke up the next day with a bit of a sniffle and windburn, but it was totally worth it.